Another week, another pivotal matchup for a Northwestern State football module perplexing to settle itself nearby a tip of a Southland Conference and in a FCS tip 25.
After knocking off No. 24 Sam Houston State in Natchitoches, a Demons (4-3, 2-1 SLC) transport to Central Arkansas (4-4, 3-1) for a Saturday kickoff during 6 p.m.
Not usually will NSU take on another tough competition (UCA was receiving votes in a check before losing during Southeastern Louisiana 41-24), though Jay Thomas and his staff will face another first-year manager in Steve Campbell after personification K.C. Keeler in his initial deteriorate during Sam Houston State.
But Campbell is distant from a newbie in this industry. He’s won a inhabitant championship during NCAA Division II Delta State and a youth college championship during Mississippi Gulf Coast as a conduct coach. Campbell even won a inhabitant pretension as a core during Troy.
“Campbell has been superb everywhere he’s been,” Thomas pronounced of Campbell, who’s never had a losing deteriorate in his 15 seasons as a conduct coach. “I have a series of friends on his staff as well, and a group is flourishing week by week and starting to take on his celebrity and a personalities of a coordinators.
“It does matter (taking on a new coaching staff), though we do have copiousness of film during this indicate in time. But everybody is in a building routine even with coaches that have been around.”
Before a Sam Houston win, a Demons’ 31-28 win opposite UCA in Turpin Stadium in 2013 was a program’s final win opposite a ranked opponent.
A highway win Saturday could put NSU, that is receiving votes in both FCS polls this week, on a hinterland of a SLC pretension and FCS playoff talk.
Thomas pronounced his group has been “flat” in use this week, maybe since of sinus infections and other illnesses using by a team, though a Demons contingency step it adult in another critical game.
“We’ve got to get a small some-more pep in a step … and we’ve got to get that chip behind on a shoulder to play a peculiarity football team,” Thomas said. “We can’t rest on what we’ve already accomplished, we’ve still got some unequivocally good football teams.
“This will check a majority right here. Has all a before highway games paid off for us? We have to play mistake free, distinct a outing to Southeastern.”
NSU and UCA are dual of 5 one-loss teams in discussion play chasing personality and No. 8 Southeastern (6-2, 4-0).
Central Arkansas has employed dual quarterbacks in comparison Ryan Howard (1,169 yards, 11 TDs) and youth Taylor Reed (869 yards, 7 TDs). Even beginner Hayden Hildebrand (126 yards, 2 TDs) has a handful of snaps.
Senior receiver Dezmin Lewis (561 yards, 4 TDs) is fourth on UCA’s career receptions list (171) and fifth in yards (2,284). But NSU’s delegate hold Lewis to 4 catches and 30 yards nonetheless UCA threw for 297 in a 2013 loss.
Creating turnovers has been pivotal for both teams. NSU ranks second in a FCS in turnovers caused (22) while UCA has a healthy 17 forced.
ADKINS ON NATIONAL WATCHLIST: NSU comparison quarterback Zach Adkins is among a 30 players named to a College Football Performance Awards FCS National Performer of a Year.
Adkins, who binds 7 NSU flitting records, ranks ninth nationally in execution commission (66.2), 10th with 15 touchdowns and 16th in completions per diversion (21.6). He’s thrown for 1,537 yards this season.
Other Southland players embody Southeastern quarterback Bryan Bennett, McNeese quarterback Daniel Sams, Lamar quarterback Caleb Berry and Stephen F. Austin using behind Gus Johnson.
“The initial thing is he’s a tyro of a diversion and always has been,” Thomas said. “It kills him when he creates a mistake.
“But he’s a gamer … and everybody rallies around him. Even when you’re down (21-7 to Sam Houston), we feel like you’re never out of it.”
Adkins, who doesn’t have a automobile on campus, can be found in a coaches’ offices examination film when he’s not in class.
“He does so many when we have so many opposite things in (the offense) during this point, and he has to hoop a lot,” Thomas said. “I have to spend time with him to make certain he’s removing adequate nap during night and he’s complacent before to a game.”
INJURY REPORT: Senior defensive lineman Deon Simon is “day to day” after pang a class dual twist (ankle). Simon, an NFL prospect, has done 25 tackles (six for loss).
Junior descent lineman Delryn Wilson (fingers) is out for during slightest dual some-more weeks. Junior lineman Jonathan Lewis (Many) is behind in use after blank many of a season.
NSU during Central Arkansas
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Estes Stadium, Conway, Arkansas
Records: NSU (4-3, 2-1 Southland Conference), UCA (4-4, 3-1)
Series: UCA leads 4-3